All Leaves and No Fruit
What's on Your Tree?
Fruit = the outward effect of divine chastening, reward, product, price, earnings, result
Leaf = a flat green part that grows in various shapes from the stems or branches of a plant or tree and whose main function is photosynthesis
Covered = to hide, protect, or decorate it.
Mark 11:13-14 (NKJV)And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”
If you know this passage of scripture, then you know in verse 12 it says that Jesus was hungry and he came upon this fig tree. He saw the tree from afar, and he saw that it was covered in leaves. It is known that when a tree if full of leaves that it bears much fruit, but when he came upon the tree it was barren and lacked fruit. He then cursed it because it was a covered (decorated) made to look like it had much fruit, but it was a fruitless tree. It was a tree that had beautiful and lush leaves but bared no fruit for a hungry Jesus who was passing by and needed to be fed.
It is my belief that this story is a metaphor of how the church behaves in our society. The cars are decorated with bumper stickers, the necks are adorned with cross necklaces, gospel music is playing loudly for all to listen, Jesus is praised, you hear amen and hallelujah frequently and the attendance to Wednesday and Sunday service are in high numbers. The problem is that most of the church is not bearing any fruit that the world needs, because we encounter so many that backbite, gossip and are hateful toward others. I am thankful for my experience in the church, but I no longer identify with any religion because it is my belief that the purpose of religion is to direct us towards spirituality which leads us to our higher purpose and a more fulfilling relationship with the divine. There is no real connection to the divine in the church today and when you don’t have that personal connection with the divine it is hard for our vessels to bear much fruit. The world is hungry to know and believe in the divine, but when they come upon a tree with no fruit they curse the divine. The world is so desperate for love and want to know the love of God and they go searching for that in religion. I am thankful for my experience in the church because it allowed me to learn that you will never find the love that you are seeking in anyone or anything but yourself. I do however believe that if there were more individuals in the church who genuinely loved themselves then you would indeed have more people seeking to cultivate that same love within themselves. When we love ourselves, we can believe and receive that God/The Universe or our Divine creator loves us as well, but until we realize this first we will always seek this love outside of ourselves. What the world needs right now is love, we need to love ourselves first and then once we love ourselves we can share this love with others. Once you have cultivated this love within yourself you can be that tree that is full of leaves and plenty of fruit to pick from for those that are hungry who cross your path.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Love is the foundation on which all the other fruits are built, because if you don’t have love you cannot have peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility, self-control, faithfulness or gentleness. We are here for a purpose and we possess many gifts and talents, but if we don’t have love to share with others then our gifts and talents are of no use to anyone. What we sow is what we are going to reap so if you are sowing good seeds and good deeds then you will in turn receive back good seeds and good deeds. Once you have cultivated love within yourself and you sow that seed out to others then you will also receive that love back. When you do not have this love for yourself then you cannot pour out onto others and to pour this love out onto others we must first fill ourselves with this love. I can’t speak for everyone but this was my case, because I was trying to pour out love onto others but I was empty on the inside. I was not taking time for myself and filling myself up with love and I began to harbor resentment because I was giving from lack instead of abundance. When you try to pour from an empty container you will have the opposite of these fruits, and the opposite of the fruits are:
Love - is fear
Joy - is anger
Peace - is strife
Patience - is frustration
Kindness - is selfishness
Goodness - is enmity
Faithfulness - is impurity
Gentleness - is cruelty
Self-control – is agitation
We all want to know our purpose in this life and I personally think that our purpose is to love ourselves so that we can love others unconditionally. Jesus is our greatest teacher because he was not impartial to anyone he loved everyone the same. He did not only love the church people but he also loved the people who were not in the church. He showed love and compassion to all that he encountered even those who talked behind his back and even those who betrayed him. Once the world knows love then and only then will this drive out the hate and fear that is so rampant in our society today. When you have love inside you and you have cultivated this love you learn to love others no matter how they treat you. The greatest thing about that is when you continue to love others regardless of their actions toward you, it shows them the meaning of unconditional love. Showing them love and continuing to love them does not mean that you must interact with them because you can still love them from a distance. I love this scripture about love and I know that love is an action, but I like to think it is also a feeling.
1Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.